May 25, 2015
Russia to supply 46 MiG-29 fighters to Egypt
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Vedomosti reported on May 25 that “Egypt will create jobs for Russians. The two countries agreed on the terms of contract to supply 46 MiG-29 fighters to Egypt. It opens new prospects for one of the internationally best-known Russian firms.” The story was based on two aviation industry sources who spoke to Vedomosti about the contract, whose signing is expected in the near future. Rosoboroneksport declined to comment, and it was not possible to reach RSK MiG representative for comments.
The notion of supplying modernized MiG-29s to Egypt (sometimes referred to as Mig-35) is not a recent one, says an aviation industry manager, RSK MiG General Director Sergey Korotkov publicly mentioned the idea several times. Russia signed and is implementing a contract for no less than $500 million worth of S-300V4 systems, and the MiG contract might cost as much as $2 billion if it includes weapons.
Egypt is a unique country in that it uses fighters from three different countries, the US (F-16), France (Mirage 2000) and USSR (MiG-21 and the J-7 Chinese derivative). The backbone of EAF are the US F-16s which are financed by the US military assistance program, however the country always wanted to diversify its arms suppliers whenever the financial situation permitted. After the military overthrow of the islamist president Mohammed Morsi, the US halted arms deliveries to Egypt, which is one of the reasons for the diversification. In February 2015 Egypt bought 24 Rafale fighters, a FREMM frigate, and missiles worth 5 billion Euro, the deals with Russia are also part of the diversification strategy with the MiG-29s intended to replace the obsolete Soviet and Chinese fighters.
The Egypt contract gives RSK MiG prospects for work for many years, as it’s the biggest MiG-29 contract of the post-Soviet era. Right now RSK MiG is implementing two contracts for carrier-based MiG-29K/KUB for the Indian Navy (29 aircraft, of which 17 have been delivered as of early 2015) and for the Russian VMF (24 aircraft, of which 14 have been supplied by the end of 2014). Last year it signed a contract to deliver 16 MiG-29SMT for the Russian VVS of which 8 will be delivered this year and 8 in 2016. Therefore the Egypt contract will practically double the order portfolio from the current 40 machines and will enable the corporation to continue producing fighters until 2020.